I submitted a DVD of the following pieces for my entry
(1) “Abhinaya Compromised: The Flat Affect of the Perverse Educational Body” Apr 2011
Sustained exposure to any environment is not natural. When we subject a body to academic environments for a long time, it becomes an “academic body” by adjusting, but it also develops unique quirks.
I subjected my own body to various academic experiences, which trained me in ways similar to that of my temple dance education. I thus applied the Abhinaya of Indian dance (science of mapping emotion onto bodily expression) to access and reveal in performance a perverse set of caricatures that embody my academic identity.
As part of this exploration, I improvised words to motivate movement. The words had a powerful conflicting effect on me as I spoke and performed to them, manifesting an asexual robotic doll with a flat affect. Therein, I found my academic body.
(2) Submitted as a work-in-progress (Jan 2013), “Drunk on Dhak” is an interpretive performance video. Framed as a contemporary devotional offering, the piece calls on Devi to manifest herself as the warrior goddess and reclaim respect for the feminine and female-bodied through the body of Her female devotee.
In this piece, I empower myself by acknowledging my dark-complexioned womanhood, thus claiming worthiness as Devi’s vahana (animal mount). I explore my own autonomy as Her tigress, upon first choosing Devi as my rider, and then calling on Her to choose me. I do not apologize for calling Her. Playing a lonely dhak, I offer only myself as her vehicle.